HAR is pleased to announce a recent release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in English, French, and Portuguese) on Francisco Martins Lage, a recognized Portuguese ethnographer-intellectual outside of the university in the first half of the 20th century.
Barthez, Maria, 2022. “Ethnographer without a Chair, Playwright of ‘Portuguese Folklore’: The Life and Work of Francisco Lage”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
Francisco Martins Lage (1888-1957) was part of a group of recognized Portuguese intellectuals who were ethnographers without a chair during the first half of the 20th century. Detached from the University – cultural anthropology and ethnology would take longer to be part of academic curricula in Portugal) –, this generation studied the Portuguese people and built a “demotic culture”. This was as an extension of the “ethnographic sensibility” of Portuguese anthropology and ethnography, composed in the 1st Republic (1910-1926) and the early years of dictatorship, from 1926 to 1933. It was centred on folk art (in its ’decorative essence’ and aesthetic exaltation), as a vehicle for the construction of the identity of the Portuguese nation. This set of ideas, based on an approach to the field of folk art, is evident in an ideological vision of the rural world, as a paradigm of folk traditions and the culture of the Portuguese people. This marked the discourse/programme of the Secretariado da Propaganda Nacional (SPN, National Bureau of Propaganda), a state organism of the Estado Novo regime (1933-1974), the dictatorial regime led by António de Oliveira Salazar (1889-1970).
More than sixty years after his death, Francisco Lage remains an unknown figure, both within the history of Portuguese anthropology in the 1930s and and within the history of the Estado Novo, and its actions of nationalist propaganda. However, Lage’s collaboration in international and national exhibitions, including the Aldeia mais portuguesa de Portugal, was decisive, and his activities multifaceted, as editor of several books dedicated to Portuguese ethnography, also as playwright of the Teatro do Povo, and the Verde Gaio ballets, as a gastronome – associated with the menus offered in Pousadas Portuguesas (regional historical hotels) –, and finally in setting the Museu de Arte Popular.